Neath Castle

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Neath Castle

Neath Castle (Welsh: Castell Nedd) is a Norman castle located in the town centre of Neath, Wales. Its construction was begun by Robert, Earl of Gloucester, the nominal Lord of Glamorgan, at a date estimated between 1114 and 1130.[1] It is also referred to as "Granville's Castle", after Richard I de Grenville (or Granville or Glanville; died post 1142), Lord of Neath, who has also been credited with its construction.[2] The town of Neath takes its Welsh name, "Castell-nedd", from the castle.[3]


The first castle in Neath was located west of the river near the Roman fort of Nidum, and was a timber fortification in a motte and bailey structure.[4] When Richard de Grenville founded Neath Abbey close by, he abandoned this original castle, and it may have been used by the monks as a source of building material.[5]

A second castle on the opposite bank of the river, in what is now the centre of the town, is first documented in 1183; shortly afterwards, William de Cogan, son of Miles de Cogan, was appointed constable.[6] This second castle was built by Gilbert de Clare, 5th Earl of Gloucester.[7] During the 13th century, being a Norman stronghold, it was subject to attack by the Welsh, notably by Llywelyn the Great, who captured it in 1231 with help from a local Welsh lord, Morgan Gam.[4][8] Following this, it was substantially rebuilt by Richard de Clare, 6th Earl of Gloucester, Gilbert's son.[9]

It was taken again, and this time destroyed, by Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford, in 1321, during the rebellion against King Edward II of England.[10] Its owner, Hugh Despenser the Younger (who had gained the lordship through his marriage to the heiress Eleanor de Clare), rebuilt it, possibly with the addition of a gatehouse.[9] In 1376, one Roger Kyngot was the constable,[11] and the castle was rebuilt in stone in 1377; that is probably when the great gatehouse was built, which is the main surviving feature.[12] The castle was in use until the 17th century, and has been a recreational area for the town since the 18th century.[13] The post of "Constable of Neath Castle", a medieval legacy, was held by Sir Humphrey Mackworth from 1703.[14] The title was eventually absorbed into that of Mayor of Neath. What remains of the castle is designated a Grade II* listed building.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Neath Castle". Neath Town Council. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  2. ^ Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan: Volume III: Medieval secular monuments. The early castles - from the Norman Conquest to 1217: Volume III: Medieval secular monuments. The early castles - from the Norman Conquest to 1217. London: HMSO. p. 156. ISBN 0113000359. 
  3. ^ "The Neath Constituency". Christina Rees, MP for Neath. Neath Constituency Office. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "List of Castles in Wales". Historic UK. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  5. ^ Neath Castle from The Cistercian Way
  6. ^ Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales (2000). An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan: Volume III - Part 1b: Medieval Secular Monuments the Later Castles from 1217 to the present. ISBN 9781871184228. 
  7. ^ "The Lordship of Neath". Cymdeithas Hanes Resolfen History Society. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  8. ^ "Morgan Gam". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  9. ^ a b Pettifer, Adrian. Welsh Castles: A Guide by Counties. Boydell & Brewer. p. 100. ISBN 9780851157788. 
  10. ^ "Neath Castle". The Gatehouse Gazetteer. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  11. ^ "Ministers' Accounts: Introduction". British History Online. Cardiff Records Committee. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  12. ^ "Neath Castle". Jeffrey L. Thomas. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  13. ^ coflein NPRN: 94528. GGAT PRN: 00624w. Cadw SAM: GM039: Neath Castle
  14. ^ "Mackworth, Sir Humphrey". History of Parliament. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  15. ^ "Neath Castle, Castle Street, Neath". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 


Coordinates: 51°39′54″N 3°48′13″W / 51.6651°N 3.8037°W / 51.6651; -3.8037